Garret and Jennifer Jones

Garret and Jennifer Jones
Garrett and Jennifer Jones

Friday, August 19, 2011

25 yr. Capsule, Part 2

There are a few things I inadvertantly left out last night as I was trying to finish before church started. (and my spelling and punctuation was atrocious!... so sorry). I mentioned Garrett played baseball for about 10 or 11 years. He started out a catcher and then a pitcher combined with 1st base. He had Brandons gait, they neither one could run but watching him reminded you very much of Brandon. And was it ever funny to watch peoples faces as we'd holler for Tiny Man when the kid at the plate was 1/2 again as big as any other player. But he was following in his biggest brothers shadow. Brandon at age 17 was 6' - 6" and weighed around 300 lbs. Garrett's last trip to the gym (which was a favorite activity), he was around 6' - 4" and about 285. He and Jenn were a morning regular, and even the gym staff has FB'd how much they miss their morning visits.
Another omission was Garretts first 2 jobs. He worked for a small screen printing shop here in Hueytown, and I believe the owners just kind of adopted him. He was trustworthy, honest, dependable and a quick learner. He then landed a job with Winn Dixie and worked there, if I'm not mistaken, till he went to work for Vulcan.
In the latter part of 2009, Jennifer Leonard found my #3 son in a search on MySpace or Facebook, I don't remember. She had entered parameters, according to her, of Christian, fun, mountain lover, tall, and like a 25 mile radius of Birmingham. Or something very close to this anyway. And Garretts profile comes up. She makes contact, they meet and start dating. And within a year, he pops the question in Gatlinburg. We could not have been happier for him. She was just what he wanted and needed. They were so very happy. Garrett taught her what being frugile meant, and by doing that, they were able to buy what they wanted, when they wanted and pay cash for it. They had bought a new car just before getting married and had financed it for 3 years to help establish credit. Both of my married sons were blessed by God with great helpmates!
Garrett also loved to fish. Bass fishing was his favorite, and I like to believe he got that from me, although Janell's dad, POP, was a good fisherman as well. But Garrett and I had some fishing afternoons together and a couple of lake trips, too. He had also, over the last five to six years, become a do-it-yourself man. He was learning to work on his own vehicles, (that's POP's genes taking over!) he would tackle computer issues, and with Kevins help, was fixing things and doing home improvement projects that I would just hire out if I ever got the money. But not Garrett. If he had to pay somebody, that was money he could be saving for something special he or they wanted. I looked up to him for that. I know my limitations. He pushed the envelope. And he was also a guy that would help out someone in need. Sometimes it was the guy at the end of the exit ramp. Or it was a cause he would hear about and just open his wallet. It would be a family that needed their A/C fixed, and he'd "find" the parts to get it done. Garrett was also the quick-wited, sarcastic and comedian of my bunch. Kevin is too, and when the two would get together at supper at our house, oh my heavens. You could barely eat for laughing. But he also had Janells memory and quick-thinking ability. I do not think quickly, I tend to disect and formulate and respond much more slowly than the mom and son pair. And yes, I suffer for that inability still. Janell doesn't forget much and thats a cross I bear.
Garrett and Kevin had also gotten very close, especially after Kevin got married. Garrett would spend the nights at Kevins on weekends, and after he and Jenn started dating, the four were together all the time. They took trips to Florida together, went to Auburn games together, spent weekends cooking out or fishing and just being each others best friend. And the last few months of his life, Garrett seemed to be trying to get closer to me, I feel. He knew I wanted him to be living closer to God, and several times he called and asked me questions of Biblical or religious nature. And he said that he and Jennifer were beginning to look for a church home, because he felt they needed it in their lives.
If you can't tell already, I fell like I lost not only a son. but a man that left this world a better placce because he had been here. And that is the way I feel about all of my sons. They have been and still are, better sons than I deserve.
War Eagle Brandon, Kevin and Garrett! Dad loves you more than you'll ever know!
I'll be back.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

25-yr Capsule, Part 1

Many have asked what Garrett was like, his interests, hobbies and such. So I thought I would try to capsulate his twenty-five years. He was born on 3/7 (of 86) and weighed 3 - 7. Because my first comment about him when Janell asked if he was whole (there had been concerns because of medication she was on when she conceived), I said he just looks like a tiny little man. And Tiny Man stuck. When he wa real little you could count his ribs if he went shirtless. And he could pacify himself better than any little kid I'd seen. If you gave him two little action figures, he could spend hours creating battles and stories. as he got a little older, with two older, faster and bigger brothers, he became the brunt of their pranks. And so did any of his friends that visited. Especially when Janell and I weren't around. I remember once when after he took a shower and was coming out to go to his room to get dressed (about 7 or 8 yrs old), his brothers stripped him of his towel, and shoved him out the front door. He had to walk across the front yard butt naked and barefoot, and make it to the back yard. And he called Janell at work to tell on his brothers.
He loved baseball and played park ball from 5 yrs old till he was 16 and got his first job. But as an adolescent and early teen, he helped take care of his oldest brother, Brandon when he was diagnosed with a terminal cancer. He could physically do things to tend to Brandons personal hygeine and care (when Janell and I weren't around) that the other brother had great difficulty doing. And as Brandon's ministry grew, he became the one to help push him in the wheelcahir, especially when Brandon would be speaking at some church on Sunday. Janell and Garrett would see that he got up steps or whatever to get to where he was speaking. And for that effort, he "charged" his brother a "brother tax". And depending on what love offering or gratuity was given to Brandon from that engagement, Garrett got a percentage! But this time was also where Garretts tender and caring personality started to grow. He loved the underdog, always, unless it was Alabama or whoever was playing Auburn. And his love and passion for Auburn grew fast and deep as he went through high school. Brandon's illness and death had a maturing effect on both Kevin and Garrett. They had to face an ugly side of life very early and it pushed them into manhood very quickly. Garrett had many friends, but a few very close. None closer than his brothers, but almost. He lost one of his best friends around age 19-20, when this young man was accidentally stabbed while trying to stop a fight. That had a lasting impact on Garrett and I believe he struggled for a while with his faith. during this time he also went to Bessemer Tech and got his Long Certificate" in A/C and Refridgeration. And a great company, Vulcan Heating and Air (commercial) hired him before graduating. He progressed and developed a reputation os one of the most conscientious and polite, but knowledgeable technicians they had. And it was so evidenced at his funeral when almost every one of his customers came to the funeral home to say goodbye, and hug our necks.
I will continue this tomorrow night. (no spellcheck tonight, I'm at church and service is about to start) I'll be back.....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Are You a David?

I have not written many posts lately, as I just wait for the Lord to give me something to write. I still reflect on all that happened since The Storm. Strange, but that now is our reference point for so many things. "Well, prior to the storm..." or "Since the storm..." and etc. At one time it was "Before kids..." or "Before grandkids..." or "Before cancer..." But again, I digress.
What I started out to say was that before April 27th, I struggled to write a couple of paragraphs to my sister in an e-mail. And my friend count on FB was around 30. And yes I had lost a son to cancer and did not realize how many people were watching our family, and especially me. But this time, for some reason, I kinda feel like David. Please know up front, I am not in any way strumming my own harp (sorry, I couldn't resist!) and just because my first name IS David, I am not even in the parking lot of comparison, much less the same ball park. But David was the least likely of the eight sons to become a King. No, I'm not announcing a run for office. But he simply made himself available when he got annointed by Gods messenger. God had already put His blessing on David before he left to take food to the soldiers. But then as David went to meet the giant, he stops long enough to get his sling and pick up five stones. Ever wonder why He got five? I have. He knew that God was going to deliver Goliath with one stone. So why pick up the other four? Any ideas? But back to my point. He made himself available and God used what David knew and was good at and used it. I never intended on this journey becoming what it has, and reaching as far as it has, and lasting as long as it has. I just picked up my computer with all my ignorance and inexperience using it (completely opposite of Davids expertise with a sling) and started to share with whoever would listen, my pain, anger, fear and hopefully faith. David had faith far beyond what I have. But God has used a nobody, to somehow spread His message for the day or the week. Have you made yourself availble for Him to do whatever? There may be a ministry that has your fingerprints or voiceprint on it that God is waiting for you to take up. It may be a ministry to the elderly, to cancer patients, to the illiterate, to widows. It may be a nursery worker or childrens Sunday School teacher. It could be a weekly visit to a nursing home to play checkers or read books to the residents. Whatever it may be, He's waiting for you to make yourself available. And every day you procrastinate, you are missing the blessings He promises. I get them in messages and posts every day just about.
Hopefully, this week will bring a response to the many requests I've had about sharing some insights on what kind of a son and person Garrett was. I've started a couple of times, but it gets hard to see the keyboard for some reason. Thank all of you for reading...........I'll be back.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

His Timing

The last few days have for some reason just been kinda blank. I'm not sure how to describe it. I have felt the loss of my #3 son and #2 daughter in law in a different fashion this week. It's been just a deep hurt. It hasn't neccessarily be dibilitating. Just a deep down sense of loss that I've not felt for ten years. Tuesday night, we met with our insurance agent from whom we purchased a life insurance policy on Garrett many years ago. This is the second time we've done this. I had not seen Garrett's death certificate till then. As I read over it, it seemed each word seeped through my skin, muscle, (to be honest fat too,) and down to the very marrow of my bones. And an extreme sadness and hurt just invaded me. Last night, I had been asked to share this Facebook ministry with my church family, and had there been another program available, I probably would have asked that it be substituted at the last minute. But as I read through some of my posts of the last two months for them, it just seemed to go right through my lungs and into my blood and travel to every cell. And then, as I sit down to catch up on this site and PfGJ, the local Fox affiliate airs it's Storm of Destruction or whatever it was called. And I sit here and watch for the first time, scenes of what happened that day, and the following days. You see, Janell and I were in the hospital waiting room with no TV for 5 1/2 weeks, except what we might see when we came home at nigh to shower or feed the dogs. And because I would not change the channel, I sit here typing with dried tears on my cheeks and fresh ones appearing every few minutes. But this is all part of the healing process. And these hours or days will come every now and then, and you never know when they will strike. But hopefully, last night will be the first of many times that I get to share with people what so many of you have encouraged and helped me write. So I guess I should be thanking ya'll. And I do. Each of your prayers and the requests to continue posting do give me a sense of being needed in a diffrerent way. His timing is always right, we just have to adjust.
I'll Be Back.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Theres not a central thought or theme running through my head tonight, so if you looking for deep thought or spirit laced meanderings. well, it's not starting out this way so read on at your own disapointment.
Flashback a couple of months to a request for some pool assistance. I just did not have the time or willpower with all tha was going on to prepare my pool for Garrett coming home and needing some physical therapy the pool would provide. Well, a schoolmate and friend of many years ago, came to our rescue. And I never mentioned them to you, I don't think, but I should have and feel badly that I have taken so long to publicly thank them. It was in writing thank you cards out this week that I remembered this oversight. Ginny and Frank Pearson came to our rescue and as Frank put it when I insisted on paying for their services and materials, "Ginny said I better not accept one peny from you for this". So to both of them and their sons who helped as well, Janell and I say thank you so very much. Though Garrett chose a crystal river over a really clean nice pool, your kindness to us will not be forgotten. Janell has made good use of it, though not as much as she would have liked by now. And if I can ever do anything for them, I hope they wil call.
More than just a few of you have mentioned that I should write a book about this journey. And after many urgings, I did contact a Christian Free Lance writers association. I explained to them our story, gave them the FB pages and blog site and asked the vice-president of the association, whom I was communicating with, to read and get back to me. He did do research, but came back with the opinion, that to go into writing something of this without a guarantee from a publisher would probably not be the way any of their writers would normally go. He mentioned they could do a magazine article and it would probably be picked up by someone, but that was the best he could offer. He would mention it to a few of their members and give my contact info to them if they were interested. Well, no one has come forward, so I take it that if God wants it to happen in book form, somebody out there will know somebody that knows somebody that would want to do it. But I feel he was right, that it will take interest from a publisher, and they will have someone they can assign to do it, kinda like Rick & Bubba's publisher did (a local radio personality duo in the Birmingham market, syndicated nationall).
But another small avenue of sharing our story in person has opened up for this Wednesday night at my church, as my pastor is away and the chairman of deacons came and asked if I would discuss the minstry the FB postings have had. It is my prayer that churches would call, and offer me the opportunity to come and share our journey, possibly combined with some music. It may mean retirement from being a bi-vocational minister of music for a while, but if I can impact His kingdom in a positive way doing that, I would humbly accept that assignment. I don't mind if it's local or long distance. He'll provide a way and replace the income I'd lose by retiring, if it's His will. And I'd have to be convinced of that beyond a shadow of a doubt.
I will be in a revival at New Faith Baptist Church in Pleasant Grove beginning September 4th, Labor Day weekend, with pastor Doug Moore, from Mt. Olive Baptist Church, preaching. Everyone is invited to come visit.Not yet sure of how long and the times, but you can call the church from 8-noon and get the info, or I'll try to provide later.
I'll be back